JUST FIVE months into the year, the Northwest Regional Airport came very close to cracking the 100,000 passenger mark.
May’s total of 21,179 passengers, the third month in a row the airport has experienced traffic of more than 20,000 passengers, brought the year to date total to 98,369.
That’s more than the January to May 2013 total of 60,602.
For all of 2013, 177,294 passengers used the airport, an increase over the 139,193 mark in 2012.
Expanded industrial activity in the region, chiefly the Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelter project in Kitimat and ongoing development work by numerous pipeline and liquefied natural gas companies, is responsible for the continuing increase in passenger traffic.
The airport is responding by expanding its long term parking area to handle 800 vehicles.
And it has announced plans to build a third aircraft parking stand in front of the terminal building so that more aircraft can load and unload passengers during the same time period.
Work is also underway to rebuild a section of Bristol Road, the airport’s main service road.
Airport passenger figures come from scheduled carriers Hawkair, Air Canada Jazz, Central Mountain Airlines and WestJet and do not included chartered or private passenger totals.